Designing an end-to-end home rental platform in Malaysia


UX Designer



In 2020, we built and launched Instahome. In 2021, we began to delve deeper into researching, testing and building features that will move us toward our goal to increase the number of rental home available on our platform and speed up the transaction process for the tenants out there. Within a short 12 months, and with only a small Product & Engineering team of 1 Product Manager, 1 UX Designer and ~6 Software Engineers, we launched 20+ major and minor features at breakneck speed. Some of the most impactful releases are covered below.

Revamp Searchbar

Not long after launching Instahome in late 2020, we figured that the search bar design, a simple dropdown menu, was no longer viable as our location coverage was increasing by the day, and searches from users getting more specific (e.g. users voicing out their wish to look up subareas instead of areas).

The previous design was a derivation of how multiple global comparables across the globe designed their search bar. Our European counterparts mostly had a simple dropdown menu as their search bar as their market is primarily condensed in the metropolitan cities; While our local counterparts had fully spec-ed out search bars equipped with filters more suited towards property sale than rental.

We began to interview Instahome website visitors aggressively (with leads collected from all sources, webform, social media, user signups) while compiling all the organised data columns on Google Sheet (geeked out on Google Data Studio too!).

The data (and fancy Google Data Studio charts) gave us pointers on how to improve our search bar. We discovered that while many people were unable to provide a rigid and specific list of criteria during their house search, there were always 3 criteria everyone was able to provide and they are also mostly kept the same throughout the entire customer journey without much deviation. A Point of Interest, Maximum Price, and Minimum Number of Bedrooms (not a hard guess, but essential to be data-driven!).

And so we went and gave our search bar a quick upgrade. The number of searches multiplied, and the same component also multi-purpose as an tool gathers the location interests of our users. Keystrokes are captured after a short pause, to avoid losing that quality data before users drop off, or simply capturing successful location keyword searches. This valuable information enable us to inform our supply acquisition team on where the popular demand are.

Search Request

Through the user interviews mentioned above (personally spoken to 100+ users on the phone), we were able to get a better understanding of the traits of a serious user (who is most likely to rent through our platform).

Again, we listed down the most commonly provided search criterias collected through interviews with 400+ potential renters and created a form that is strategically placed on every search result page (exactly where a serious user would be hanging out at!).

As a small team, we want to allocate resources efficiently, this lead collection form enable us to gather our users’ search criteria upfront, so we can prioritise them as the ones to serve first (we have a team of expert Sales Executive who will reach out to potential renters, guide and assist them through the entire home rental process).

Booking Flow Payments

We made Instahome the 1st platform in Malaysia where you may rent a long-term property and transact fully online, from deposit collection to rental payments.

Tenant Dashboard

Towards the final quarter of the 2021, where we began to shift towards building internal tools to automate tedious operational processes that were previously supported by tons of Google Sheets, we launched a new update to the Tenant Dashboard.

Aside from having the ability to pay rental online (FPX, Direct Debit, Credit Card) or checking past payment history, Instahome’s tenants can now browse through execlusive promo codes with on-demand services (repair, maintenance), browse through a thoughtful ly curated guide to maintain their home, or to request to extend their tenancy or terminate earlier.

This brings the Instahome platform a step closer towards our goal of becoming the 1st end-to-end home rental platform in Malaysia.

Want to experience the features above, head over to and check them out!